Contributing to jQuery Foundation Web Sites


Just like our JavaScript libraries, we maintain the design and content of all our websites in the open, with everything available on GitHub. We do this for several reasons:

  • It works for code. Open source development is collaborative, auditable, and decentralized -- all qualities that should be part of working on design and documentation as well.
  • Wikis and CMSes are fraught with problems for community projects. Both are targets for spammers, which leads to tight control over user accounts, compounding the problem that there is only a small circle of people around the project maintainers with the ability to work on content and design. Even if you desperately want to start contributing to a project, it can take a while before you encounter the right people and gain the trust to get set up with credentials. If you're one of the people who have credentials, it's Yet Another Login and Password to remember. Once logged in, you have to make your changes in a textarea or RTE instead of where you'd really like to be working: your text editor. Then, if you actually have major changes you want to propose, you can't, because there's only one instance running, so it's no place for experimentation. Designs stagnate and bugs linger (often untracked) while the canonical store of content is trapped in a database. Better hope you've got backups in place, and that you don't ever want to work while you don't have an internet connection.
  • We want more people to learn how to do open source. Our users come from all backgrounds, and many come to jQuery without prior experience in the world of commits and pull requests, of local development and dependency management, of build processes and deployments. This can make contributing to jQuery seem a remote and intimidating prospect: "Not only do I have to be capable of fixing a bug in jQuery, I have to figure out all this stuff too?" With open content and design, we hope to provide opportunities for all you folks who have "always wanted to get involved" learn the tools and workflows common to open source projects, while working on the types of issues you're comfortable solving.

link How It Works

Here's the short version: static content is built into HTML and deployed to a WordPress instance over XML-RPC using grunt.

link Content Repositories

Inspired by static site generators like Jekyll, each of the sites (with some exceptions*), on jquery.com and jquery.org, including this very one you're reading, has a corresponding repository in our GitHub organization that serves as the canonical source of the content. Most of these repositories have a combination of HTML and Markdown (typically in the pages directory), each with bits of leading metadata (JSON or YAML, respectively). The API documentation for jQuery, jQuery UI, jQuery Mobile, and QUnit is maintained as XML in the entries directory. Assets such as images (the kind you'd put in an img tag, not in a CSS background-image) are kept in the resources directory.

link WordPress and jquery-wp-content

Whether for production, staging, or local development, the sites are served from a WordPress network. Using a WordPress multisite setup gives us the control we need to share structure and style across all of the different sites, and provides us with dynamic features like searching and user accounts on top of the static content repositories. We've worked together with members of the WordPress Core Team to create jquery-wp-content, which provides a custom install script that sets up all the different subdomains, and a parent/child theme setup that applies across the entire network, and handles other aspects of the configuration.

We do not make any modifications to content, layout, or configuration through the WordPress Administration panels.

link grunt: Getting Static Content into WordPress

Each of the content repositories comes with a build process that uses the node.js task-based build tool grunt. Running the grunt deploy command will use the two grunt plugins we've built specifically for our sites, grunt-jquery-content and grunt-wordpress, to process the static content into HTML, and then synch the built output into WordPress over XML-RPC, using the credentials in the config.json file in the repository, creating and editing posts and pages mirroring the directory structure of the original source content.

link Deploying to Staging and Production Environments

In addition to our production environment, we also have a staging environment for all of the sites. The URLs for the staging sites are the same as the production URLs, except they are preceded with a stage. prefix, e.g., stage.contribute.jquery.org. We use git post-receive hooks to automate deployment to both environments. Whenever there is a commit to the master branch of any content repository, or jquery-wp-content itself, the changes are pulled onto the staging site, and the grunt deploy runs, making them available for immediate preview. When we are ready to deploy changes to production, we need only tag the repo with a valid semver, and the same process takes place in production.

For api.jqueryui.com and api.jquerymobile.com, the major and minor versions have to match the code version the site documents. Use patch to update the documentation for a given major/minor release.

For other sites:

  • patch for trivial changes, like typos
  • minor for bigger changes, like new pages
  • major for redesigns.

To create a tag, use npm version [major | minor | patch].

Afterwards, make sure to push both version change commit and the tag: git push --tags origin master


link How Can I Help?

link Just File Issues!

When you notice something wrong with one of our sites, or you have an idea for how something could be improved, don't keep it to yourself. Filing a Github issue on the appropriate repository is the best way to let us know what's up.

When you're looking at a live site, it may sometimes be a bit unclear whether your issue should be filed on a content repository or directly on jquery-wp-content. Typically, if the problem has anything to do with markup or CSS, it's a jquery-wp-content problem. If the problem lies with the actual content of the words and code you're reading, you probably should file the issue on the content repository. If you happen to make the "wrong" choice, however, we still appreciate the report, and will make sure it finds its way to the right place if necessary.

link Editing and Authoring Content

If you actually want to make commits to make the fixes and improvements, then you'll need to fork the content repositories you'd like to work on. When you have changes you'd like to have reviewed for integration, submit a pull request. However, we recommend that you file issues for new "features" and significant changes before actually getting to work. For more information on maintaining your fork and strategies on commiting, see the Commits and Pull Requests guide.

You'll note that it is possible to make content changes without setting up a local WordPress instance. You won't be able to preview your changes as they'll appear on the site, and you won't be able to run grunt deploy, which means you can't be 100% sure that the content will build successfuly. We will accept pull requests on content from users who haven't had a chance to test locally, but encourage anyone who's planning to contribute regularly to get configured for deploying and testing locally.

link Design and Layout

To work on the CSS, HTML, and PHP that comprise the site theme, you'll need a fork of jquery-wp-content. Again, it is possible, but discouraged, to make theming changes without configuring a local WordPress instance.

The parent theme that applies to all sites is located in the themes/jquery folder. Each content site has a child theme in the themes folder that corresponds to the repository name, and supplies styling and templates specific to that site.


link Local Development

In order to iterate on site content and design in the same way that jQuery team members do, we encourage you to setup a local WordPress instance using jquery-wp-content as described in its README.

link Workflow

These setup instructions apply to all jQuery Foundation websites with public content repositories. For the sake of the rest of this example, we'll assume you want to work on the content and style of contribute.jquery.org. Please substitute the URL of whichever site you are actually working on, as appropriate.

Once you get jquery-wp-content working, you should be able navigate to a site in your browser that looks exactly like the live site, only without any content. If you setup jquery-wp-content using Vagrant, then the URL would be http://vagrant.contribute.jquery.org.

Now we need to populate your local WordPress with the content from the contribute.jquery.org repo.

  1. Fork the contribute.jquery.org repository on GitHub by clicking the "Fork" button.
  2. Clone your forked repository to wherever you'd like, but not inside of your WordPress and jquery-wp-content directories. -- git clone https://github.com/YourUsername/contribute.jquery.org.git
  3. Enter the directory where you cloned the repo -- cd contribute.jquery.org
  4. Install grunt-cli (if you haven't already) -- npm install -g grunt-cli
  5. Install local build dependencies -- npm install
  6. Copy the config-sample.json file to config.json in the same directory -- cp config-sample.json config.json
  7. Edit config.json to use the URL, username, and password for your local WordPress network. If you're using the Vagrant setup, then the URL is http://vagrant.contribute.jquery.org.
  8. Build and deploy the files to your local WordPress -- grunt deploy

At this point your local WordPress should be populated with the contribute.jquery.org content.

When working on content locally, you may find it useful to use the grunt watch task, which will re-deploy the site every time you edit any of the content files.

Make your changes to your the content repo or to jquery-wp-content as necessary, and keep the Commits and Pull Requests guidelines in mind as you prepare your work.


link Getting Help

If you're struggling to get any part of any site working properly, or have any questions, we're here to help.

The best place to get help is on IRC, in the #jquery-content channel on Freenode. If you're unfamiliar with IRC, you can use the webchat gateway or learn more.

In addition, the jQuery Content Team holds a public, weekly meeting on Freenode, at 1PM Eastern time in the #jquery-meeting channel.

If IRC is not your thing, but you still want or need to get in touch, please use the site's GitHub repo or send us an e-mail to content at jquery dot org.


link Site & Repository Guide

  • jquery-wp-content - The WordPress configuration and themes that serve all our sites

link Non-conforming Sites

Some of our sites are not part of the system described in this article. Some because they are simply not yet live, others still have some transitional work still in progress, and others that can't be integrated or have been deprecated.

link Not Live, Content Migration In Progress/Planned

link Will Not Be Transitioned To Content Repository, Still Needs New Theming